Steampunks at the Lockoford Inn

The Airship drifted nosily under the dark clouds as it struggled against the oncoming storm. The decades old motor emitted a horrid whine, that even the thunder was unable to hide. The old canal bridge, under which I’d found refuge, vibrated as the bloated blimp, circled above. They wouldn’t stop searching until the temporal teleportation device I had stolen, was pried from my cold, dead hands. Time was running out to meet up with the extraction team at the Lockoford Inn. With no options left, I whispered a small prayer to the Small Gods of Real Ale and then pressed the device’s button. The world went black and I disappeared.

Life and pubs are full of nice surprises. One would never guess on venturing into your local drinking establishment on a wet Wednesday evening, you would find yourself surrounded by Steampunks. Now, for those not in the know, Steampunks are not a cross between Johnny Rotten and Thomas the Tank Engine but rather a group of lovely people who have embraced this subgenre of Science Fiction (A mix retro-futuristic technology, industrial steam-powered machinery and Victorian era fashion. The cold opening above, was this writer’s poor attempt Steampunk fiction). It is said a picture is worth a thousand words, so for a better understanding of what this means, then just divert your eyes to the photo below. Ok, now you’ve had a glance at the amazing costumes on display… I’m sure you all agree, they look great!

The Chesterfield Stephenson Steampunks

The Chesterfield Stephenson Steampunks meet once a month at the Lockoford Inn. It’s an open meeting that welcome Steampunkers from all walks of life (Check out their Facebook page for more details). Now, as life-long geek, I couldn’t help but be inspired the group’s enthusiasm and love for their hobby. You may remember reading our article in the April edition of InnSpire magazine about the role of the pub in the community. How our locals are not only a place to grab a delicious pint of Cask but also have opened their function rooms to community groups, offering a safe place for people to come together.

Now I must admit my ears pricked up, on hearing the George Stephenson link in the group’s name. The “Father of Railways” died in 1848 at the nearby Tapton House in Chesterfield, just up the road from the Lockoford Inn where for a few years I went to school (Tapton House that is. Not the Lockoford Inn). Fun fact: Mr Stephenson also seemed to spend a lot of his later life, trying to grow straight cucumbers in thick glass tubes than anything locomotive related. Which has little to do with either Steampunk or Real Ale but nonetheless very much the kind of useless trivia we are sure you’ve come to expect from InnSpire Magazine.

On my visit to the Lockoford there was two Cask beers on offer, which are regularly rotated. With it being a school night, I had just the one pint of Dizzy Blonde Amarillo Pale Ale by Robinsons Brewery. I promised to return soon to have a few more pints, a bite to eat and maybe watch one of the upcoming live bands. A beautiful traditional pub, that I must admit had slipped under my radar, I left smiling knowing that I had another nearby “local”.

Pubs and the Community

Like the little story at the beginning, groups like the Chesterfield Stephenson Steampunks, give people an escape from modern life and the worries it can bring. A way of being transported to a different world. For a few hours at least. Be it Steampunk or Real Ale, one can see the parallels, in a passionate group of people, coming together to celebrate the thing they love. And, by George, we are lucky that our pubs and clubs are still around, offering a warm welcome to the adventurers and dreamers, who find a sense of community within their doors.

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN INNSPIRE MAGAZINE.
AUTHOR/INTERVIEW: CHRIS FOX

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